International Criminal Court (ICC)
CONGO, RD: The Appeals Chamber confirms Lubanga’s sentence
The Appeals Chamber of the ICC has confirmed by majority the verdict that declares Thomas Lubanga, commander and founder of the Force patriotique pour la libération du Congo (Patriotic Force for Congo Liberation, FPLC) guilty of the enlistment, conscription and use in hostilities of children under the age of fifteen, and the corresponding sentence of 14 years imprisonment. Lubanga’s defence had alleged that the proceedings were unfair, and that the Trial Chamber's findings about the age of the child soldiers were erroneous, and the disproportion of the penalty. Lubanga was convicted in March 2012 for committing, as co-perpetrator, war crimes consisting of the enlisting and conscripting of children under the age of 15 years into the FPLC and using them to participate actively in hostilities in the context of an armed conflict not of an international character from 1 September 2002 to 13 August 2003, and was then sentenced to 14 years imprisonment in July 2012. The decision of the Appeals Chamber concludes the first case of the ICC. ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has welcomed the decision that sends a clear message to those who recruit, conscript, and oblige children to take part in hostilities that they will be held accountable. (Hague Portal, 01/12/14; ICC, 01, 02/12/14)
CÔTE D’IVOIRE: ICC rejects Côte d’Ivoire’s allegations and requests the surrender of former first lady Simone Gbagbo
ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber I has rejected Côte d’Ivoire’s challenge to the admissibility of the case and reminded the Government of its obligation to surrender Simone Gbagbo to the ICC. In November 2012, the ICC had unsealed a warrant of arrest against Simone Gbagbo for crimes against humanity of murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, other inhumane acts and persecution allegedly committed in Côte d'Ivoire between December 2010 and April 2011. In September 2013, the Ivorian government questioned ICC competency over the case, alleging that the same person for the same crime was being prosecuted in Côte d’Ivoire. Arguing that Ivoirian authorities are not taking tangible steps to judge Simone Gbagbo, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber has now confirmed Côte d'Ivoire’s obligation to surrender Simone Gbagbo to the Court without delay. ICC Pre-Trial Chamber has also confirmed four charges of crimes against humanity (murder, rape, other inhumane acts or – in the alternative – attempted murder, and persecution) committed in the capital Abidjan between December 2010 and April 2011 against Charles Blé Goudé, founder of the Young Patriots party. Noting that ICC judges concluded that the crimes for which she is currently prosecuted in the country are not the same as those included in the International Court case (as killings, rapes, and acts causing great suffering or serious injury to individuals are not being considered in the Ivorian case), Human Rights Watch has called the Ivorian authorities to promptly surrender Simone Gbagbo to the ICC. (ICC, HRW, 11/12/14)
KENYA: Withdrawal of charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta
Following ICC’s Trial Chamber V declination to further adjourn the trial of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has withdrawn the charges against him. She has announced a new case would be open if new evidence becomes available in the future. According to Bensouda, Uhuru Kenyatta case has faced several challenges that obstructed the investigation of the charges: such as the death of several people who may have provided important evidence, or the fear of others to testify; the withdrawal or change of accounts of key witnesses; and the non-compliance of the Kenyan Government to information requests. Trial Chamber V has indeed found that the non-compliance of the Government of Kenya has compromised the Prosecution's ability to thoroughly investigate the charges, and is breaching Kenya’s obligations under the Rome Statute. Kenyatta was prosecuted for its alleged responsibility in the 2007-2008 post-electoral violence, were about 1,200 people were killed. President Kenyatta has expressed his release and criticised the process as deficient and travesty. Human Rights Watch, in turn, has deplored that the long tradition of impunity in Kenya has created obstacles to a fair process in front of the ICC. Amnesty International has deplored that the withdrawal of the charges is not a vindication of President Uhuru Kenyatta, but an indictment of the Kenyan government of and the ICC who continue to fail the victims of the post-election violence. (ICC, BBC, 05/12/14; AI, 05/12/14)
PALESTINE: The Palestinian Authority requests its membership to the ICC
The Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, has signed applications to join 20 international organizations and treaties, including the ICC. The chief negotiator of the Palestinian Authority, Saeb Erekat, has announced the accession to the treaties will be effective in 90 days, and President Mahmoud Abbas has announced its intention to file a complaint to the ICC against Israel. After the July and August armed confrontation in Gaza, Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riad al-Malki met with ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to explore how the ICC could investigate war crimes in Palestine. Several Israeli officials have expressed their concerns over Palestinian membership to the ICC, saying all disputes should be resolved through peace talks, and warning that joining the ICC would also expose Palestinians to prosecution. The move to join the ICC among other international organisations came a day after the UN Security Council rejected a resolution that was calling to set a 2017 deadline for completing negotiations and ending Israel's occupation of territories. (Al-Jazeera, 30/12/14; The Jerusalem Post, 02/01/15)
    Ordinary Justice and Traditional Justice Systems
COTE D’IVOIRE: Trial against 82 representatives of Gbagbo’s previous regime, including Simone Gbagbo, initiates
Two weeks after a sentence call from the ICC calling for Simone Gbagbo surrender to the International Court, an Ivorian tribunal has initiated the trial of former first lady Simone Gbagbo, former prime minister, Gilbert Ake N'Gbo, and the leader of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) party, Pascal Affi N'Guessan and other leaders of Laurent Gbagbo’s previous regime. The trial, which was planned for October 2014, was then postponed due to concerns over the composition of the jury, allegedly too ethnically and regionally oriented in favour of the current president Alassane Ouatara. Civil society organisations have indeed expressed their concerns for the trial been a “Justice of the winners”, as in its vast majority, the accused are FPI members close to Gbagbo former president. The Ivorian government upholds his responsibility to judge FPI members as a milestone for national reconciliation, together with the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CDVR). The CDVR was also criticised in October for its political bias, poor coordination with actors, lack of will to make the process public, and lack of redress measures foreseen. The charges are linked to post-electoral violence in 2010, when about 3,000 people died after president Gbagbo refused to accept his defeat and cede his power to Alasane Ouatara. (Le Monde, 26/12/14; Liberation 30/12/14)
    Truth commissions
BRASIL: National Truth Commission concludes abuse and torture were systematic during military rule
Brazilian National Truth Commission (NTC) has concluded in its final report that the State performed systematically illegal detention, torture, executions and forced disappearances during 1964-1985 military rule. The inquiry has identified 434 people executed (among whom 210 were never located), though cautions the number would be probably higher if it could have accessed relevant security forces documents, many of which were reportedly destroyed. Indigenous peoples, priests and homosexuals were especially repressed. The Commission has also identified 377 responsible for human rights abuses, and calls for the criminal prosecution of the 100 that are still alive, arguing 1979 Amnesty Law is not applicable as crimes against humanity do not prescribe. The NTC has also recommended to disassociate medical-legal institutions and Forensic organs from public security departments and the civil police, to eliminate the Resisting Arrest Act, to establish an Indigenous National Truth Commission, and to create a permanent body to follow up the 29 recommendations of the report. The Deputy General Prosecutor of the Republic, Ela Wieko, highlighted the conclusions have been found with rigor, allow to conclude that crimes against humanity were committed, and recognises there was a state policy of suppression of indigenous peoples. Several actors have denounced the bias at the commission for not investigating human rights abuses from the guerrillas, or have argued inaccuracy in its conclusions of the responsible bodies. The seen-member NTC was created in 2012 to investigate human rights abuses from 1946 to 1988, with the main focus on the military era from 1964 to 1985. (Globo, R7 Notícias, 10/12/14; Âmbito Jurídico, 12/12/14)
BURUNDI: Special Rapporteur welcomes Truth and Reconciliation Commission but identifies plenty Transitional Justice challenges
At the end of his first official visit to the country, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Pablo de Greiff, has shared his preliminary observations. De Greiff welcomes the new law that establishes the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), a key content of the Arusha peace deal in the year 2000, but warns its objectives should not be about pardon, but to uncover the truth, address reconciliation at the society level, involve civil society in the process, and signal openness and accessibility to victims, regardless of their ethnic identity or political affiliation. The Special Rapporteur added that in parallel to the TRC, immediate attention should be given to victims’ assistance programmes focusing on elderly and infirm widows, orphans, internally displaced persons or other marginalized groups, and that future comprehensive reparations programmes should include support for education. De Greiff also recommended the Government not to postpone judicial investigations for past mass crimes, to gather relevant evidence immediately, with special attention given to sexual and gender-based violence. Regarding non-recurrence, de Greiff suggested to accomplish the demobilization of ex-combatants and the integration of large number of them into the military and police, to take measures to further professionalize the military, the police forces and the intelligence agency, and to approve constitutional and legislative amendments to diminish the possibility of executive interference in the administration of justice. A final report on the visit will be presented in September 2015. (OHCHR, 05, 16/12/14)
ZIMBABWE: Minimum standards set for a National Peace Reconciliation Commission
The National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) has published a report setting the minimum standards for an effective National Peace Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) and has called upon Parliament to accelerate its establishment. The minimum standards refer to the protection of victims and witnesses; privacy and confidentiality and provisions for persons with special needs; adequate funding and resource mobilization for the commission; the power to subpoena witnesses; and guidelines for gender mainstreaming the work of the Commission. The NTJWG also called upon Parliament to put in place a law that operationalizes the NPRC, to increase public participation, to select commissioners through an open process subject to scrutiny and public discussion. The Chairperson of the NTJWG, Alec Muchadehama, reminded the NPRC is foreseen in Chapter 12 of the Constitution, and called every Zimbabwean to push for the establishment of the NPRC. (NTJWG, 02/12/14)
    Truth seeking investigations
USA: Senate report concludes that CIA brutal interrogation techniques between 2002 and 2007 were ineffective
The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) has unclassified a summary report – known as the Feinstein report – concluding the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) used more brutal interrogation techniques than recognised, that interrogations were ineffective, and that the CIA deliberately misled the US government about the obtained information and the used techniques between 2002 and 2007. The full report, totalling more than 6,700 pages, and issued five and a half years ago, remains classified but has been shared with the White House. The Study documents the abuses and countless mistakes made between late 2001 and early 2009, in the post-September 11 attack context. The Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman, Dianne Feinstein, has expressed her hope that the findings of the report will never again allow for secret indefinite detention and the use of coercive interrogations. UN Special Rapporteur on counter terrorism and human rights, Ben Emmerson, has highlighted that the summary report confirms there was a clear policy orchestrated by the George W. Bush administration, which allowed committing systematic crimes and gross violations of human rights. The Special Rapporteur has reminded that according the UN Convention Against Torture and the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances, the US should prosecute perpetrators and also senior officials. (SSCI, 09/12/14; Jurist, 09/12/4; OHCHR, 09/12/14)
FRANCE – USA: The French government allocates 60 million dollars to compensate American Jews deported by French public train company SNCF
As a result of a three year negotiation between the USA and France, the latter has decided to allocate 60 million dollars (49 million euro) to compensate non French Holocaust survivors and victims’ families that were deported to concentration camps by the French state rail company SNCF during WWII. Hundreds of direct victims and spouses will receive 100.000 dollars, and thousands of heirs could receive tens of thousands of dollars. The compensation fund has been agreed on after the French company has been prevented from participating in rail contracts in Maryland, New York, Florida and California (US) due to its role in the Holocaust. The agreement includes the commitment of the US government to end those lawsuits and compensation claims in US courts against SNCF that were preventing the French company to participate in the US contracts. During the Nazi occupation in France, SNCF deported about 76,000 Jews to concentration camps. In 2011, SNCF President, Guillaume Pepy, expressed his regret for collaborating with the deportations, but argued it had no effective control over them. The compensation fund will be financed by the French government and managed by the US. SNCF will add 4 million dollars over the next five years to fund Holocaust memorials and museums in the US, Israel and France. Abraham Foxman, director of the Jewish civil rights organization Anti-Defamation League, said the agreement provide some modest redress, an important recognition of their pain, and acknowledge the responsibility of governments and institutions to seek every possible measure of justice for Holocaust victims. (Le Monde; AP, 05/12/14)
LEBANON – ISRAEL: UN General Assembly asks Israel to pay Lebanon $850m for an oil spill during 2006 war
The UN General Assembly has requested Israel to compensate Lebanon with 850 million dollars for environmental damage related to air raids in 2006, in a non-binding resolution approved by 170 countries, opposed by six, and three abstentions. Based on the conclusions of a report published by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in August that quantifies the value of damage to Lebanon in $856 million, the resolution also encourages Member States and donors to continue supporting Lebanon to complete the clean-up and rehabilitation operations. In the 2006 armed confrontation, Israeli jets bombed a power station, releasing about 15,000 tonnes of oil into the Mediterranean Sea, polluting up to 120km along the shore. Israel's UN mission has claimed it already contributed to UNEP efforts to clean the Lebanese coast and that the resolution, voted long after the effects of the oil slick, institutionalises an anti-Israel agenda at the UN. Instead, the Lebanese ambassador to the UN, Nawaf Salam, said the resolution is a major progress, as it is the first time an estimation of the damage has been fixed. In 2006, Israel attacked targets all over Lebanon and invaded the south of the country after the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers. More than 1,000 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and about 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, died. (A/RES/69/212, 19/12/14; BBC, Ya-Libnan, 20/12/14)
CHINA – JAPAN: First state commemoration of the Nanjing massacre
On the 77th anniversary of the Nanjing massacre, Chinese President Xi Jinping has chaired the first state commemoration of the massacre. The ceremony, attended by about 10,000 people including survivors, soldiers and students, is part of three new public holidays intended to mark the conflict between the two countries. During the ceremony, President Xi criticised denial of the massacre, referring to Japanese nationalists, but added that China should not bear hatred against an entire nation because a small minority of militarists launched aggressive wars. Tension between China and Japan for territorial disputes has increased with memory celebrations, such as when Japan officials have visited the Yasukuni shrine, were war criminals are buried. But relations seem to have improved after the two leaders held their first talks last month. China says 300,000 civilians were massacred when the city was occupied by Japan's troops in 1937, although some Japanese nationalists dispute this version. (BBC, 13/12/14)
RWANDA: Plan to preserve and make public Gacaca Court files
The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) in partnership with the Rwandan NGO Aegis Trust have announced a plan to preserve, digitise and make accessible the documents and audio visual files created in the Gacaca Courts. The Gacaca Courts, which were closured in June 2012, produced an estimated 60 million pages of documents and 8,000 audio-visual files. The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide, Jean de Dieu Mucyo, highlighted the Gacaca testimonies by victims, witnesses, perpetrators, investigators and judges help to learn about the preparation, implementation and consequences of the genocide, and to understand how Gacaca helped restore justice in communities. The Gacaca Archives are meant to be a tool for research, learning and preventing mass atrocity. The physical archive will be hosted in a new facility at the Kigali Genocide Memorial to form part of the Global Centre for Humanity, a centre for genocide research. Gacaca is a traditional community court that was established in 2001 in Rwanda to deal with the violence of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, when about 800,000 Rwandans, mostly Tutsi alongside moderate Hutu, were killed. (Aegis Trust, 11/12/14; All Africa, 12/12/14)
To subscribe to the bulletins or to receive information from the School for a Culture of Peace,
To unsubscribe, click here
For any comments or suggestions, please write to:
Tel. +34 93 586 88 48   |   |
Plaça del Coneixement - Edifici MRA (Mòdul Recerca A), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 09193 Bellaterra (Barcelona)
If you cannot see the image, please click here

In compliance with Law 15/1999, of 13 December, on Protection of Personal Data, the School for a Culture of Peace informs that personal information is treated in strict confidence and incorporated into our general database in order to keep you updated on our activities.